Master & Dynamic MW75 review

Flagship sound at a sub-luxury price point

Master & Dynamic MW75 review
(Image: © Alex Bracetti/Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Master & Dynamic MW75 has the look and sound quality of $600 headphones, but not the noise cancellation.

Pros

  • +

    Exceptional soundstage

  • +

    Stunning craftmanship

  • +

    One of the best calling headsets available

  • +

    Many serviceable accessories

  • +

    Increased battery life

Cons

  • -

    Stronger options for $599

  • -

    ANC could be better

  • -

    Finicky controls

  • -

    Feature set is limited vs. category leaders

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It’s been three years since Master & Dynamic released its last flagship headphones: the MW65. Revered as an attractively designed model with superb sound, the MW65 got lost in the shuffle because of a high MSRP and stiff competition from heavyweights such as Bose and Sony. Hoping to regain its footing in the noise-cancelling headphones market, Master & Dynamic announced the series’ newest entry. Introducing the MW75. 

Much of what made the previous version a critical success remains present on the MW75, including the lengthy battery life, natural sound, and stellar build quality. The company’s active noise-cancelling (ANC) technology has been updated, more microphones were added, and you’re given a few more accessories to play with for extended functionality. 

MASTER & DYNAMIC MW75 SPECS

Price: $599
Colors: Gunmetal/Black Leather, Silver Metal/Grey/Leather, Silver Metal/Brown Leather, and Black Metal/Black Leather
Battery life (rated): 28 hours (ANC on); 32 hours (ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Water resistance: None
Size: 6.3 x 7.8 x 3.29 inches
Weight: 12 ounces

Unfortunately, ANC performance, while great, doesn’t compare to the market’s best. The finicky controls and lack of special features are also concerning when factoring in the steep price.

Read our full Master & Dynamic MW75 review to see whether these cans are still appealing enough to make our best wireless headphones list.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Availability and price

You can purchase the Master & Dynamic MW75 for $599 on the company’s website (opens in new tab). It is sold in four colors: Gunmetal/Black Leather, Silver Metal/Grey/Leather, Silver Metal/Brown Leather, and Black Metal/Black Leather. Bundled with the purchase are a ¼-inch adapter, hard shell travel case, USB-C to 3.5mm cable, USB-C charging cable, and twin plug airplane adapter.

These noise-cancellers are more expensive than category leaders such as the Bose 700 ($329) and Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399). The only ANC competitor with a higher price tag is the Mark Levinson No. 5909 ($1,000).

Be sure to bookmark our headphone deals page for the latest sales.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Design and comfort

The MW75 are composed of high-end materials and look lavishly attractive. Aluminum (earcups, yokes), lambskin leather (padding), and tempered glass materials (front panels) make up these headphones. I do miss M&D’s signature grilles on the front of each earcup, but the glass finish is a sweet touch.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

These beauties feel premium in hand and when worn on the head or around the neck. Durability is top-notch. The headphones will survive hard spills onto the concrete, though you’ll want to do everything to keep them in the best condition possible, especially if you’re dropping six Benjamins on them.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The felt fabric travel case is well built. There’s plenty of space for the headphones and the built-in storage compartment keeps all bundled accessories in one place; the built-in slots for the adapters are ingenious.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

At 12 ounces, these aren’t the lightest noise-cancellers out there, but you’ll still get decent comfort out of them. The memory foam on both earcups is soft and gentle, as well as the headband padding. Adjusting the MW75 is also a breeze, thanks to the smoothly sliding extenders.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Clamp force is moderate, meaning the headphones exert some pressure on the skull, which hurts the longer you wear them. I could only go 2 hours straight before experiencing fatigue. On the plus side, this guarantees that they remain put.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Controls and digital assistant

M&D’s love for physical buttons is showcased on the MW75. The left earcup houses the listening mode (ANC/Ambient) and power/pairing buttons, while the right earcup has a multifunctional button (playback, call management, digital assistant) that’s flanked by volume buttons.

The controls were functional 75% of the time, with the MF button often confusing multi-press commands for one another. There was also some lag when activating ANC. Motion detection is onboard to auto-pause content when taking off the headphones, but it works only half the time.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Siri and Google Assistant are compatible and work flawlessly. The mics pick up every syllable, allowing both AI bots to interpret words and voice commands correctly. Alexa and Google Assistant integration should have been included for the price. This would have let users activate either assistant by saying their respective wake-word phrases (“Hey Google,” “Alexa”).

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Audio quality

The MW75 produces accurate, bright sound. Frequency range is some of the best in the category, delivering fantastic lows, mids, and highs. M&D also added three preset EQs to personalize sound. Vocal mode boosts the midrange and I recommend using Bass Boost for increasing the low-end frequencies, should you want a little more oomph to your sound. Then again, M&D’s default sound profile is masterfully engineered and deserves to be enjoyed on its own.

The detailing demonstrated on Simon & Garfunkel’s “At the Zoo” was something to behold. Hearing the wind chimes at the beginning travel from the right to left channel and circle back left me in awe, especially with the effect sounding so delicate and immersive. What caught my attention most was the bass guitar reverb, which sounded realistic, as if the instrument was being played right next to me.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Moving onto more contemporary selections, Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” had the bounce and delivery I expected, and then some. The interweaving drum-machine patterns were reproduced well and maintained their upbeat resonance throughout the recording with zero distortion. Horns were vibrant, vocals were striking, and the scatty cymbals sounded crisp.

Listening with ANC on does increase bass presence a bit, and using the bundled audio cable gives the midrange a bit more emphasis.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

SBC, AAC, and aptX-adaptive (aptX LL/HD) codecs are supported, the latter promising hi-res audio and lower background noise. Streaming quality and signal stability were solid across all three.

The volume levels are moderate, so don’t think that music is going to blast through the 40mm beryllium drivers at an excessively high volume. You’ll hear tracks loudly and comfortably at max level.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Active noise cancellation

M&D developed new adaptive ANC technology that employs 4 mics to adjust noise cancellation to your surroundings. The results are effective. However, the price should warrant excellent ANC, which rivals like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4/X5 deliver.

There are three modes to select from and each one is engineered for specific purposes. Adaptive automatically adjusts ANC to your environment, All Day is recommended for less noisy environments, and Max is most suited for noisy environments and travel. The differences between the three are minor.

Max performed the best and was my go-to throughout testing. It silenced most low- and mid-frequency noises in different settings. Noises such as car engines, washing machines, and motorized toys went unheard. If only the MW75 didn’t struggle to block out voices. Hearing talkative pedestrians on the street and my wife’s siblings converse from 10 feet away was disruptive.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

These headphones also failed to diminish high-frequency noises. My toddler’s loud babbling and cries were audible from several rooms over, along with my mother-in-law’s iPhone ringer. Sirens and whistles were huge distractions during afternoon strolls.

Adaptive slightly improved performance in loud environments. Still, I preferred Max for all listening sessions.

Two-mode Ambient listening is available and doesn’t live up to its billing either. Awareness was OK for hearing some incidental sounds. Cars and landscaping tools were discernable. Airplanes flying over the house weren’t, nor was the construction taking place on the Intracoastal Waterway. Voice was even more of a letdown. Conversations with the missus didn’t come through clearly and I could only make out her words when spoken loudly.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: App and special features

The M&D Connect app (iOS/Android) is where you’ll find most of the MW75’s functional perks, many of which have already been discussed in detail. These include ANC, Ambient, and EQ. What else is there? Very little. A battery level indicator, auto-off timer, quick start guide, and toggle controls for in-ear detection and listening mode activation round out the app.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

It’s fair to say the app could use more popular features, specifically audio customization tools and a Find My Headphones feature (this should be standard for all sub-$600 headphones).

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

M&D’s other huge feature comes in the form of the MW01 wireless Bluetooth adapter/transmitter. Sold separately for $69 (opens in new tab), this accessory turns wired devices into Bluetooth-ready devices. It comes with 22 hours of battery life and two 3.5mm inputs for connecting a second pair of wireless headphones/earbuds to enjoy shared listening.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Battery life

Battery life is rated at 28 hours with ANC on and extends to 32 hours with ANC off. Realistically, these times drop by about 1.5 hours when factoring in high volume and special features. Either way, this is an adequate amount of playtime to have before recharging, sitting right between the Bose 700 (20 hours) and Sony WH-1000XM5 (30-40 hours).

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

I’ve used the MW75 4 hours daily for a week and had about 10% left in the tank. A 15-minute quick charge got me 6 hours of use, which eased my low battery anxiety.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Call quality and connectivity

These are easily M&D’s best headphones for voice and video calls. Every person I spoke with via mobile or laptop provided positive feedback, stating my voice sounded loud, crisp, and prominent over background noises. I attributed this to the phenomenal 4-mic beamforming array that filtered ambient sounds exceptionally well, especially wind. Any whooshing effects created in gusty conditions were audible, but heavily minimized to let vocals come through clearly.

Bluetooth 5.1 was on point. Range extended up to 100 feet. It felt great streaming music and taking calls from anywhere in the house, and even across the street, while my smartphone charged in the bedroom.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Pairing to iOS/macOS and Android devices was instantaneous, though I would have loved to see Google Fast Pair for one-tap pairing. Multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) is also available and operated smoothly. The headphones always recognized my primary audio source and never scrambled connections between my Google Pixel 6 Pro and MacBook Pro.

Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Verdict

The Master & Dynamic MW75 are one of the best-sounding and most attractive headphones on the market. They are also a tough sell at $599, especially when Bose and Sony have headphones that offer superior noise cancellation and terrific sound for much less. 

M&D’s natural sound profile complements all music genres, plus the addition of presets allows for bass or vocal enhancements. Construction is top tier with high-end materials making up the model’s entire frame. The bump in battery life and call quality are also notable selling points.

But not everything shines. ANC should be better for the price, which is too high, and the Ambient mode is disappointing. The headphones could have benefitted from more features as well. Some that come to mind include a customizable EQ, Google Fast Pair, and touch controls.

If a handsome appearance and clean, precise sound are your priorities, then the MW75 might be worth the splurge.